I am really not sure how this blog is going to go, but I know I want to write it from my heart. Sometimes I am not the best with my words.
My heart has been heavy for a few weeks. For those that follow me you probably know by now that I wear my heart on my shoulder and I take everything to heart.
It's not the best quality to have and it usually leads to sleepless nights and over thinking everything I do. But it's me.
I received a Facebook message from another photographer critiquing a session I had posted online. I am pretty sure she was coming from a good place when she sent it. It wasn't ugly or mean, but she shared her thoughts on my work.
And it stung.
I went back and did a little soul searching. I went back and read a personal note that I posted on Facebook in 2011. It was note that I wrote after losing my nephew. It was a note that reminded me why my vision is what is it when someone is in front of my camera. It's the reason I love being a photographer.
The words stung. I cried. Yet I reminded myself why I am me, why my style is what it is, and how I am doing God's work.
I don't claim to know everything about photography and I am constantly learning from those that inspire me to be a better me. I love natural light and believe or not I love sunshine :) I love bright, airy photographs that capture my true clients.
It's ok to be different.
It's ok to not take pictures or edit like everyone else.
It's ok to be you and not feel like you have to explain it or justify it.
My first client session after mentoring with the amazing Audrey Woulard ( who by the way is the queen of light) was in the middle of a bright sunny day. There were over 20 other photographers at this location shooting, and it was the first time I had ever been there.
While they all had their clients in the shade, I had mine in the sun.
I was the only one.
And that's ok.
Some of those shots are below along with my note from 2011. I am reminded to never let anyone tell you your not good enough or that your style is wrong.
Watching my nephew take his last breath changed my soul. What I see through my lens has forever been changed, in a good way.
And I will never make excuses or apologize for that.
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.”
~ Erma Bombeck
Losing Our Sweet Shaun
November 9, 2011 at 4:32pm
It has been one month since my family and I sat in a hospital room in Denver and released every ounce of hope we had and watched our sweet Shaun take his last breath. I have a profession where I see death up close and also see the joy of miracles. I know both are possible if you believe, if you pray to God and if you feel Jesus in your heart. I didn’t pack my suitcase with the expectation that my family and I would be the ones not getting that miracle. As the week in the hospital progressed, I began to realize that a boy in the same unit, the boy that was the same age as Shaun that was involved in an ATV accident, would be getting the miracle we wanted and needed, and I would be dealing with the harsh side I have come to know at my job. Yes my job, by midweek I was beginning to feel like my job was a curse. I knew too much, I medically knew more than most, and at times I wished I didn’t know so much. It’s a tremendous feeling to have the knowledge of what is medically going on, and to have the feeling of hope in the back of your mind. Although I am grateful I was able to help my family understand what to expect, I also carried the burden of having to be strong, and making sure I didn’t miss interpret anything the doctors were telling us. Remembering to not cloud my own personal feelings with those miracles I had seen first-hand at work. I had to remember to stay grounded for them, to not cloud my own judgment, they needed me. Since I have been home I have come to realize that Shaun’s injury should not have allowed him to still be alive for that week in the hospital, yet he was and at times alert while we were there. I remembering several times throughout the week feeling like he knew I was there, and he seemed calm when he knew we were there. I hear that sometimes from my husband that I help ease people feelings but never really believed it. I am honored to know that in his last moments, I was able to give Shaun that feeling of being comfortable and not scared.
Since coming home my boss gave me a book called “Have Heart”. It’s a book written by parents in Nashville whose son was killed in a car accident just weeks before going off to college. I remember this boy, I remember the day we flew him in on the helicopter, I remember going down the elevator to the Emergency Department with him. How do I remember, because he was heading to the University of Tennessee to play football and I love college football. After a few days and on his 19th Birthday his family withdrew care and Josiah went to be with the Lord. My boss said “Noreen, don’t read this book until you’re ready”. My ready was today, one month after Shaun’s passing, I was ready. I have been struggling with healing, letting go, moving on. Page 38,” We want to clearly dispel the myth that by embracing healing, you are somehow diminishing the tragedy that caused your heart to break in the first place. Satan wants you to hold on to your pain and brokenness, so he is going to whisper lies in your ear at every turn. He’ll say “You know, if you open your heart to Jesus, if you open yourself up to healing, you’re going to start forgetting your loved one. It will almost be as if that person never existed if you allow yourself to feel alive again. Satan is the father of lies, and you need to know that healing does not make your loved one or your tragedy small or insignificant. Embrace the healing that Jesus came to bring, and don’t let Satan’s lies twist the work Jesus wants to do in your heart. This was huge for me. This was me, this is what I have been doing.
Page 113, Gods Nods. These are special, supernatural moments that radically contribute to the healing process. It made me wonder, what were my God Nods from Shaun? Did I even have any? The book says that if you are spiritual and have God in your heart that you can ask for a sign, something from Shaun that says he is ok. My God Nod was the other morning when I was hearing the sounds of Metallica coming from Logan’s voice. When I asked him where he had learned the words to Metallica he said “ In my dream last night.” That was my God Nod.
This book has opened my eyes that there is life after death, that Shaun is alive in a new and improved body and that he hears my prayers and thoughts, that he longs to comfort me in little ways to help me through the healing process. That healing my broken heart does not mean that I am belittling what happened to him. That if I am going to see those God Nods from him I have to believe and open my heart to the Lord so he can let Shaun’s messages come through. What a blessing this book has been for me and I’m hopeful that my healing has begun and I'm looking forward to Shauns God Nods to let me know I'm not alone in this process.